Using the 4C/ID Model in CBE: Designing Based on Learning Tasks

Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract

Competency-based education requires the integrated acquisition of multiple competences such as domain-specific knowledge, decision-making, communication skills, and leadership skills. In this session, participants will learn how to design such complex learning using the four-component instructional design model (4C/ID). Specific examples will be presented in this interactive session.

Extended Abstract

Competency-based education within the University of Wisconsin System’s Flexible Option program allows students to demonstrate mastery of a subject area and earn a degree without the need to adhere to a rigid course schedule. This shift in higher education is part of a larger move away from learning measured by seat time or credit hours toward an evaluation of learning outcomes. As such, competency-based education requires a different approach to instructional design—especially when complex learning skills are involved. 

This presentation will provide a brief overview of the four-component instructional design system (4C/ID model) developed by Jeroen J.G. van Merriënboer, Richard E. Clark, and Marcel B.M. deCroock (2002). This model works well for competency-based education because it “focuses on the integration and coordinated performance of task-specific constituent skills rather than on knowledge types, context or presentation-delivery media” (van Merriënboer, 2002). The presenter plans to explain why the four interrelated components of the 4C/ID model provided a suitable framework for designing competency sets for the UW Flexible Option.

In addition to the overview of the 4C/ID model, the presenter will provide specific examples regarding how the model was used to design competency-based education within a complex learning environment. One of the challenges of competency-based education is developing a plan to help students fill knowledge gaps before moving on to the next assessment or skills test. This model encourages that tasks to be learned are ordered sequentially according to task difficulty. Then, scaffolds are put in place to support learners in gaining new knowledge and skills. 

It is important within competency-based education to provide an authentic learning environment and assessment opportunities for learners. The 4C/ID model encourages that learning methods consist of complex problem solving combined with completing assessments that match an authentic set of tasks. Assessment tasks are completed and/or demonstrated in real or simulated environments. The learning platform encouraged by the 4C/ID model allows learners to navigate increasingly complex learning tasks through just-in-time external support, thereby increasing the learner’s own skill set. The presenter will provide examples of how this was accomplished for UW Flex.

At the time of the next OLC Accelerate Conference, the presenter will either have completed or be in the midst of the third iteration of using this process. The presenter plans to present lessons she’s learned and continues to learn, and will share both the challenges encountered as well as emerging solutions. This presentation will provide insights for other instructional designers and developers tasked with creating competency-based education.

van Merriënboer, J.J.G., Clark, R.E., & deCroock, M.B.M (2002). Blueprints for complex learning: The 4C/ID-Model. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(2), 39–64.